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Monday, 15 January, 2001, 11:44 GMT
British researchers make leukaemia cell breakthrough

Medical researchers in Britain say they've developed an important cell therapy for leukaemia that could lead to a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer.

The research team at Hammersmith Hospital in London say they've managed to modify a cell which occurs naturally in the body so that it seeks out and destroys leukaemia cells.

Such cells are marked by a gene called WT-One discovered by the team, which has now gone on to engineer an immune cell so that it kills diseased cells while leaving untouched normal cells of the same type.

A spokesman for the team, Hans Stauss said the therapy appeared to work against all forms of leukaemia and he hoped to test it on patients within two years. He added that the idea might also be applied against breast and lung cancer.

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